The 40K Rulebook: Page 2
Ah the age old argument: should I have fun playing with my little plastic army men, or should I turn it into a competitive sport, and treat every game like there is a million dollar prize, and a super bowl ring at stake?
I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Tony and I’m in the military. I
have a great time playing 40k, and I’ve been playing for about three years now. I’ve always known about the game because my grandparents owned and operated a comic book store until I was 13. I’m an avid comic book collector, and I have a way hotter wife than I deserve since I play with plastic army men and collect comic books. I started 40k because I was stationed in Kansas and anyone that has driven through Kansas can tell you that their is nothing there. Luckily, some of the most skilled 40k players I’ve come across happened to be in that land of corn and the elderly.
First, imagine you are that Tactical Marine on the field. Now imagine yourself soaring high into the sky to view the battlefield, and then the continent, and finally the entire world. Instead of being concerned with your 1×1 square of the world, you are now viewing all facets of Planet X at a 10,000×10,000 feet. Now you see the armies moving, the civilians carrying on from day to day, and even the generals in there strongholds, directing their armies to war. Things should really be changing for you now. Now that you are seeing things from my point of view, I want you to remember how you got here, and I’ll make sure I come down to your 1×1 section from time to time to ensure that I’m seeing things from your point of view. Now that you’re up here, let’s open all of those rulebooks again and take a peak. Tut tut! No skipping over page 2 (small rulebook).
THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!
”All of these instances can lead to arguments, so it is important to remember that the rules are just a framework to create an enjoyable game. Winning at any cost is less than important than making sure both players – not just the victor – have a good time.”
“The most important rule then is that the rules aren’t all that important!”
So when was the last time you read that? Do you keep it in the back of your mind when you are playing? Can you tell when the player across from you is a hardcore tournament (i.e. incredibly strict on your turn, not so much on his) player, or when he just wants to play with his $1,000 plastic + time spent painting and have some fun? These are two very important distinctions to make. This brings me to unwritten rule #2.
RULE NUMBER 2: Know your audience
Most of you have taken a speech class in your lifetime, or you’re a supervisor, a manager, or you’re just a line level customer service rep. Maybe you’re at the bar trolling for some women. The key to it all is to know your audience. Who are you talking to? How do you approach them? When they are wrong, how do you tell them? This can make your life incredibly easy, or incredibly hard. As a 40k player you should be able to make this distinction pre-game. I’m a pretty easy going player. I tell most of my opponents right off the bat that I’m not going to argue (scroll up to rule #1). That should tell you that if you have a problem with something, or you think I’m wrong, just tell me. It’s not a big deal, and I don’t really care. Just be gracious about it, and when you screw up I will be too! Here is a fairly recent example of mine:
Player 1: Very snappy, rude: “Vanguard don’t get Descent of Angels, READ YOUR RULEBOOK!”
Me: Taken back by the tone, but polite: “uhm… hmm… yeah, check the jump pack equipment section I think. Everything with a jump pack gets it, but since Vanguard pay for their jump packs it’s not listed under the unit description.”
Player 1: Minutes go by, a noticeable bit of angst “Oh, well I read on some forum replies…”
The game continued from there but it left a sour taste in my mouth. I would have never talked to somebody like that. I choose to lead by example so when I had a question about some of the same player’s Necron shenanigans (not that the player cheats, the army just has some crazy rules) I began with a smile and a jovial polite tone.
Me: “WOW, can your wraiths really teleport through there and then zip around like that?! That’s awesome”
Player 1: “Yeah, it’s great! See, here in the monolith section it says…”
My question was answered, I learned something, I wasn’t upset by it and neither was he. It didn’t take a panel of judges, or more than about 20 seconds. Everyone seemed happy enough, and the game continued. It’s 60% how you look, 30% how you say it, and 10% what you say. How else do you think presidents get elected? Have you actually listened to what they say?
RULE #3 – THE GOLDEN RULE
I’m not religious, but the Golden Rule is awesome.
Go read this if you’re unfamiliar with it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule
How on earth does any of this relate to 40k? We’re all human, we all have lives, and most of us don’t live and breathe 40K. You never know what you opponent has going on in his or her life, so why not give them the same treatment you expect in return?
I’m going to say this now: EVEN IF YOU ARE IN A TOURNAMENT THESE RULES DO NOT CHANGE. If you win because a player forgot to shoot half his army, do you feel good about that? I don’t think you should. I keep an eye out for my opponent. Do you know why? Because I don’t know everything about the game, I screw up, and you do too. I want the fairest game possible, against the best that an opponent can be. If that means I’m 7th of 14 in a tournament, GOOD. That’s exactly what I deserved, but I bet I make a lot of friends and have a great time along the way. My day will not be ruined, I’ll come home smiling, and my wife and dog will have a good time with me for the rest of the night.
Whether you agree with me or not, remember that from 10,000 feet up you can see that we’re all grownups playing with little plastic army men. Let’s start acting like it!